This fine piece on James Stewart ’32 brought to mind a characteristic of his I much admire: his determination to keep striving. He did some dreadful movies in which he wasn’t. Wonderful Life, The Stratton Story, Strategic Air Command, or The Man Who Knew Too Much: at best, cringeworthy. He worked with some great directors, like John Ford, who didn’t serve him well. But out of the dross of Liberty Valance, say, comes a moment that rewards the viewer’s suffering. It’s not fashionable these days to admire westerns, but he made a number of gems in the ’50s, like The Far Country. And the light comedies from The Philadelphia Story through Bell, Book & Candle (for which he was far too old but still pulled off): beyond delightful. Even in his worst films, I never sense he’s given up. A pro was Jimmy Stewart.
In Response to: Rally ’Round the Cannon: It’s a Wonderful Life